Why do we eat?

We eat for energy and we eat to live. Social situations shape our food choices: we eat to have fun with friends, or to experience new flavours. Who can resist free food at a social event? Or, after we paid money for an all-you-can-eat, don’t we just have to get our money's worth?

Our relationship with food can go much deeper than that when we notice how many disorders are linked to what we eat. Among them are eating disorders like anorexia nervosa, binge eating, orthorexia, and avoidant restrictive food intake disorders. ‘Research shows that binge eating disorders are often accompanied by anxiety and depression,’ explains researcher Dr Analisse Cassar at the Anatomy Department (Faculty of Medicine & Surgery, University of Malta [UM]). ‘Now, which state causes the other is not clear, but it is alarming to note that one in five college-aged women (18–20) are known to have passed through a phase of binge eating, showing a high correlation [between eating disorders and] a stressful environment.’